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China to conduct military drills in waters near Taiwan

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s military is holding exercises this week in waters near Taiwan, China’s maritime safety agency said, days after Beijing reiterated it is ready to fight if there is any move towards independence for the self-ruled island.

The agency did not say when the exercises would be held or what type of forces would be involved but it designated an area off the coast of Guangdong and Fujian provinces, west of Taiwan, off limits due to military activity between 6 a.m. on Monday (2200 GMT Sunday) and 6 p.m. on Friday (1000 GMT).

It also said an area off the coast of Zhejiang province, northeast of Taiwan, was off limits for military exercises until to Thursday evening.

China claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under Beijing’s control.

China has in recent years stepped up its military drills around Taiwan, including regularly flying what Beijing calls “island encirclement” exercises and sending warships into the waters around Taiwan.

Taiwan has held its own military exercises.

China last week reiterated it would be ready to go to war against those who “try to split Taiwan” from the country and accused the United States of undermining global stability and denounced its arms sales to the island.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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